Asbury expands repair lane sales

ATLANTA - Asbury Automotive Group Inc. is expanding a program to sell maintenance contracts from its service lanes to all its dealerships.

The Atlanta-based public dealership group decided to broaden the program after successfully launching it two years ago at its Crown group of stores in New Jersey, Virginia and the Carolinas, said COO Michael Kearney. Kearney declined to share specific numbers but said the program has contributed to an increase in per-vehicle finance and insurance revenue at the Crown stores.

"You're also seeing the penetration go up," Kearney told Automotive News. "Once it starts happening in a dealership, in the service lane, it becomes multiplied out. Anybody that's in earshot now starts thinking, 'Well, when I have that opportunity, I'm going to sell one to the customer' -- and it grows that way."

Asbury expanded the program to its stores in Florida in January, he said. It eventually will reach all stores, but Kearney said Asbury isn't pinpointing a deadline for the rollout.

The transition takes times, executives said. It requires training of dealership employees and then constant follow-up.

Said Kearney: "You have to talk about it all of the time."

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